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Here's the Case MOD I Just Finished Using an Apache 4800 Hard Case.

PITTMAV69

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Hello all. I wanted to share some pics of the case MOD project I just finished for my Mavic Air 2. I wanted a pro hard case for my rig but I felt like the available models with the die-cut foam; while looking good with their C&C cut inserts; were lacking some essential areas for some of my gear. Not to mention that a Nanuk or Pelican with a custom cut insert would run between $110 and $200 depending on the model.
I saw a few ideas in the Mavic Pilots forum involving die-cut foam hard cases; using Plasti-Dip that looked good. I also found out that Apache cases from Harbor Freight were highly recommended and this is what I came up with.
Apache Watertight Hard Case from Harbor Freight (Construction Orange): With insider track membership/$53.00
4 cans of Black Matte Plasti-Dip @ $6/ea = $24.00
About 8hrs Construction/Paint time + 4 days for Plasti-Dip to cure (10 coats all around)
All in Cost including tax: $82.39

I'm totally impressed with both the end result of the die cut foam as well as the overall construction of the case. When I decided to customize my own foam insert I knew that I wanted to add a few spots for things that weren't provided for in the custom cut inserts that I looked at.
First; I wanted a space for my MavMount. These things are absolutely top end if you like to fly with a tablet instead of your phone. I use an iPad Pro 9.7" and I'm planning on purchasing an iPad Mini after I get my Mavic 2 Pro. They are designed by a guy in the Hollywood Film Industry to provide a stable and balanced platform between controller and tablet and they; in my opinion; outperform any other model on the market. If you're interested in checking them out; here's the link: Second; I wanted space to carry at least 5 batteries for extended jobs (4 in the case and 1 on the MAV.)
Third; I wanted to carry a full size tablet along with the rig; so I modified the top piece of foam that goes into the lid and the bottom most piece that sits below the 2 die cut middle pieces. I cut out a long section the width of the opening I created in the die cut pieces; in the top and bottom pieces. Note: I left about 1/8' of foam in the top and bottom under the cutout. This thin section was reinforced greatly when I applied the Plasti-Dip and it does provide adequate protection for the tablet when it rides in the slot. Further Update: I have been carrying the iPad 9.7" face down over the drone and battery compartments. I found out that; even with the top and bottom cutouts added; the 9.7" still sticks up a little too far for comfort when closing the lid. The slot works perfectly with an iPad Mini or other sizes 9" or under.
Lastly; I wanted a couple extra compartments for extra SD card/small components storage and for various cables and chargers.
Have a look and let me know what you think and feel free to throw in any ideas of your own. This won't be the only case I'm going to customize.
Thanks;
Kyle
MavCaseEmpty.jpg
MavCaseFull.jpg
 

dougcjohn

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Looks great!
I’ve pondered the same for multiple platforms and additional room for MavMounts and equipment.

I’m not seeing the plasti-dip, are you spraying into the cut-outs simply to reinforce the cavitie?

Like the design!
 
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PITTMAV69

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Looks great!
I’ve pondered the same for multiple platforms and additional room for MavMounts and equipment.

I’m not seeing the plasti-dip, are you spraying into the cut-outs simply to reinforce the cavitie?

Like the design!
Thanks for the compliment brother.
The plasti dip is covering all parts of the foam. It's gray in color (the foam) when you buy the case. The reason the Plasti-Dip looks so uniform is in the application process. You have to apply each coat in a moderate but steady pass and making sure not to apply too much at one time. There are 10 coats on all sides of the foam; including the inside of the cutouts. For the first 5 coats I let it dry 10 minutes between coats and for the last 5 coats it dried between 15-20 minutes. After the 10th coat I let it dry for approx 40 minutes before flipping it over to start the same process on the back side. The curing process began after the coating was completed. Plasti-Dip contains a large amount of what are known as VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds); which are gasses that are emitted from certain liquids or solids and; in this case; are also harmful if inhaled or absorbed though the skin. Therefore; it is highly recommended that you "cure" the finished product in a well ventilated area; as close to ambient room temperatures as possible; for 3-4 days until the solvents dissipate. this will ensure that camera lenses and other sensitive electronics won't be harmed by the finished product; and also that the foam wont retain an odor of solvents.
I hope that answers the question and; all apologies if I was a bit wordy on the subject. Long before I was involved in the UAS industry; I was at the University of Pittsburgh as a chemistry student.
Kyle
 

dougcjohn

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Thanks for the compliment brother.
The plasti dip is covering all parts of the foam. It's gray in color (the foam) when you buy the case. The reason the Plasti-Dip looks so uniform is in the application process. You have to apply each coat in a moderate but steady pass and making sure not to apply too much at one time. There are 10 coats on all sides of the foam; including the inside of the cutouts. For the first 5 coats I let it dry 10 minutes between coats and for the last 5 coats it dried between 15-20 minutes. After the 10th coat I let it dry for approx 40 minutes before flipping it over to start the same process on the back side. The curing process began after the coating was completed. Plasti-Dip contains a large amount of what are known as VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds); which are gasses that are emitted from certain liquids or solids and; in this case; are also harmful if inhaled or absorbed though the skin. Therefore; it is highly recommended that you "cure" the finished product in a well ventilated area; as close to ambient room temperatures as possible; for 3-4 days until the solvents dissipate. this will ensure that camera lenses and other sensitive electronics won't be harmed by the finished product; and also that the foam wont retain an odor of solvents.
I hope that answers the question and; all apologies if I was a bit wordy on the subject. Long before I was involved in the UAS industry; I was at the University of Pittsburgh as a chemistry student.
Kyle
Thanks for the additional info!
Not to over beat the question, but the Plasti-dip strengthens the foam, helps retain it's shape? Avoid moisture absorbtion?

I've used these cases for cameras and didn't apply plasti-dip and they've endured pretty good...for a camera.

Guess I'm wondering what the benefits are applying the dip? I was pondering if done prior to final shaping if the Dip soaked into the foam and allowed fewer squares removed and triming to shape would be improved/easier and obtainig a closer fit for some smaller components. Then apply additional coats to seal up the foam.
 
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PITTMAV69

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Thanks for the additional info!
Not to over beat the question, but the Plasti-dip strengthens the foam, helps retain it's shape? Avoid moisture absorbtion?

I've used these cases for cameras and didn't apply plasti-dip and they've endured pretty good...for a camera.

Guess I'm wondering what the benefits are applying the dip? I was pondering if done prior to final shaping if the Dip soaked into the foam and allowed fewer squares removed and triming to shape would be improved/easier and obtainig a closer fit for some smaller components. Then apply additional coats to seal up the foam.
No problem. The Plasti Dip seals; strengthens and protects the foam from flaking and falling apart due to the repeated packing and unpacking of the components as well as ageing. This method of sealing die cut foam inserts has been a standard in the Live Events Industry (I'm a professional Lighting Designer in Concert Touring and Theater) since I can remember for most pro lighting and audio shops; because we have so many unique components that it would cost a fortune to have customized C&C cut inserts made for all the gear.
It does aid in moisture protection and all the other reasons you stated. I personally can't tell you if applyingtthe dip prior to cutting the inserts would be beneficial. The foam isn't hard at all to punch out in the desired shape so I probably wouldn't go that route. Justbbe careful when you're working with a cutout that might only be 1 block width from the next one. If you did happen to tear it; it would be easy to repair with a hot glue gun and a steady hand.
Hope that helps.
Thanks again brother.
Kyle
 

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